Two-faced Solus

JEREMY PEREY is a Perth local. In this week’s SPEAKER’S CORNER, he raises concerns about bauxite strip mining in the Jarrah forest encroaching on areas of high aesthetic and recreational value.

IT will likely come as news to many that jarrah forest has already been completely cleared from parts of the southwestern hillside of Mt Solus to make way for bauxite strip mining.

This hill is one of Perth’s few peripheral 500-plus-meter-high peaks and offers a phenomenal view from the top, and it’s not even ninety kilometres by car from the CBD.

For such a flat state, a hill of such height is unique, especially considering that the view from the top looking in an arc swinging from the north to the east is one of intact Jarrah forest.

• Northeast from Mt Solus is rolling green as far as you can see

Paramount 

This view, in my opinion, is of paramount aesthetic value.

The same I cannot say of the view looking to the west and south west—just look on google maps.

My real concern, however, is that the ever encroaching creep of bauxite strip mining will very soon surround the mountain from both sides, and disturb that phenomenal view of the remaining un-fragmented tract of bushland on the northern, north-eastern and eastern slopes of Mt Solus, and the forest all the way to Albany highway in the direction of the other notable hills in the area, such as Mount Cooke and Mt Vincent.

And the views also looking back at Mt Solus itself.

The Monadnocks area is reasonably popular for the great hiking it offers, with the brilliant views serving as well-earned treats for those who go there.

• turn around and you may gulp at the view bauxite mining’s left.

I expect that more people will enjoy bushwalking in this region in the future as a way to escape the busy pace of life in a hyper-paced digital world.

But this area needs serious protecting as damage is imminent, yet there is almost no visible leadership advocating a restraint of damaging mining activities.

Regardless of what form of protection may eventuate, the mining and drilling exploration from Mt Solus right up to Albany Highway must first be stopped, and completely.

It’s not just Mt Solus though.

Remarkable stands of Jarrah forest located right near Dwellingup town site are earmarked for exploratory drilling and possibly a flattening.

These are intact, species rich forests and are some of the best examples of thriving original Jarrah forests in the entire world.

I’m not totally against bauxite strip mining in WA, and until recently not anti-logging, provided it can be sustainable.

But I am wary of hasty and poorly thought out actions that spoil landscapes for our own and future generations.

These are Perth’s hidden treasures at stake and it’d be nice to see people continuing to enjoy them in their current form into the future.

Doing nothing can no longer be our legacy.

We must start setting the limits.

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